Human Resources has compiled these FAQs to assist managers and DLC administrators with the policies and processes in place as a result of the Massachusetts Paid Family Medical Leave Act (PFMLA).
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Are contractors and temporary employees eligible for PFMLA from MIT?
No. MITemps employees, independent contractors, and employees of temporary staffing agencies are not eligible for PFMLA leaves through MIT; PFMLA would be available to agency temporary employees through their employer. Independent contractors should review the PFMLA to determine what their benefits might be.
I have a new employee starting soon. Will they have any sick leave days to use if needed?
New employees receive 20 days of sick time upon hire. After one year of work, they will accrue one day per month.
In the past, staff were allowed to take 5 days of accrued sick time in addition to their parental leave. Is that still being allowed?
Although staff can still use up to 5 days of accrued sick time to care for a sick child, they cannot use accrued sick time for parental or bonding leave. However, benefits-eligible staff who have a new child are eligible for 4 weeks of MIT Paid Parental Leave, plus an additional 8 weeks of Bonding Leave paid at the state formula rate (details on the state formula rate). And non-benefits eligible staff who work in Massachusetts may be eligible for up to 12 weeks of Bonding Leave at the state formula rate.
Do employees need to use all their sick time prior to going on Serious Illness Reduced Pay?
Employees are not required to use their regular sick time prior to going on Serious Illness Reduced Pay (SIRP). An employee with a serious illness may choose to use their accrued sick time for their entire leave, may choose to use sick time and then switch to SIRP or ESL during the leave, or may choose to be paid under SIRP or ESL for the entire leave. Once an employee elects SIRP or ESL, however, they cannot change back to sick leave for the same leave case.
Can Bonding Leave be taken by Other Academic Staff (OAS) during the summer, if they're on a 9 month appointment?
No. As a general matter, Bonding Leave and other leaves under the PFMLA are designed to provide partial wage replacement for time that the individual otherwise would have worked for MIT. Employees who normally are not scheduled to work in the summer are not eligible for PFMLA leaves during the summer.
I’m not sure what absence code to use for my hourly employee's illness leave.
See an explanation of absence type codes used by approvers when completing timesheets, and by Workpartners when processing serious illness leaves.
Will I be able to see the sick leave balances for my employees?
A new Cognos folder under HR DLC Reports, Leave Administration, includes an enhanced Absences Balances report report. This report allows DLC administrators to see all employee sick balances, including salaried employees, in the departments for which they have authorization.
The Leave Administration folder also includes two other new leave reports:
- “Department HRO and Leave Contacts” assists in identifying those in the DLC who will be notified of details related to employees on serious illness leaves. DLC HR Primary and Secondary Contacts are maintained by central HR; send requests for changes to email@example.com.
- “Employee Absence Reporting Supervisor and Work Schedule” assists in identifying the leave supervisor for all employees, along with employees’ work schedules.
Direct authorization requests for these Cognos reports to your department’s primary authorizer.
Are terminated employees eligible for PFMLA?
Terminated employees may be eligible for PFMLA benefits, provided they meet the PFMLA's other eligibility requirements. In addition, the leave must begin before the earlier of: (i) 26 weeks of the employee’s termination; and (ii) the employee begins a new job with a new employer.
Where do the funds come from to cover PFMLA?
- Sponsored research staff who are out on continuous PFMLA or sick leave for more than 30 calendar days are paid under the Employee Benefit pool after the 30 days. (This does not apply to intermittent leave.)
- For other staff, PFMLA sick leave, whether full pay, reduced pay, or the state rate, are paid through departmental funds.
- Family leaves are paid by the Employee Benefit pool.
- For staff who have terminated, PFMLA is paid from central MIT funds at the state formula rate.
I received a call from an employee who fell and does not know how long they will be out. What should I do?
The manager should immediately determine if the employee fell while working or if it occurred on personal time. If the injury occurred while working, the manager should file an Injury/Illness Report through the Atlas reporting system, gathering all pertinent information from the employee while they have them on the line, and making sure to verify personal contact information/updated demographics.
If the employee indicates that the injury occurred on personal time and that their time away from work will exceed three business days, the manager should recommend that the employee contact our leave administration vendor Workpartners, or the manager can contact Workpartners on the employee's behalf. The manager should also advise the employee to report their sick time to cover the days they will be out sick for non-serious illnesses. If the illness requires extended time away from work, a leave specialist will advise the employee of their leave eligibility.
I have an employee who has been sick for the last four Fridays. Can I tell the employee I am concerned about this pattern?
Yes. If the employee is not on FMLA or PFMLA and there is a pattern of problematic attendance, it should be addressed when it occurs. The goal is to make the employee aware of the problem when it occurs so that it can be explained or corrected. Communication is key. If you are concerned about an unusual pattern, and particularly if the absences are also covered by the FMLA or the PFMLA, contact your DLC Human Resources representative group or your HRO.
Will I be notified if my employee has requested a serious illness leave?
If you are the leave supervisor you will be notified by our leave administration vendor Workpartners of a request for serious illness leave. If you are not the leave supervisor, the leave supervisor should let you know of your employee’s need to be out for a serious illness.
For DLC HR Administrators
What information does Workpartners have regarding my department's employees?
MIT employees who are on a medical or family leave, or who are taking a new leave, should contact Workpartners, our leave administration vendor.
Workpartners receives demographic information including name, home address, date of birth, MIT ID number, job title, position title, absence supervisor, employee FTE %, and sick leave balances.
Managers in my department come to me when an employee is out. Am I responsible for reporting their time to Workpartners?
Managers and DLC primary and secondary contacts may request a leave on behalf of an employee. Each department can determine individual responsibilities.
Do changes on the Leave Supervisor Maintenance application flow over to the Atlas sick time reporting tool?
Yes. The Atlas Sick Time Reporting application and the Leave Supervisor Maintenance application share the same leave supervisor for all sick leaves and are integrated with the APR transactions.
One of my managers has an employee who has an intermittent leave three days per month. Last month they were out six days. Can we address this matter with the employee?
If you have an employee on intermittent leave who takes more time than the doctor stated, you should contact our leave administration vendor Workpartners, who will contact the employee on the second occurrence. A leave specialist will discuss with the employee whether or not the employee's medical situation has changed in order to determine whether additional medical documentation is needed.
I have two employees who are being promoted and will report to a new supervisor. How will you know to make that change so SAP is correct?
APR transactions prompt for entry of a leave supervisor and work schedule for salaried employees. This includes hire, changes, and termination transactions.
It is possible to complete changes for multiple people at once, if for example the supervisor leaves and has multiple direct reports.
Can an exempt employee take serious illness leave at 80% and then go back to using their sick time after 26 weeks?
An employee cannot take more than 26 weeks of combined sick leave and SIRP in a 52-week period (technically, within a Benefit Year). Also, once an employee elects SIRP, they cannot go back to using their regular sick leave for the same illness. Substituting vacation for sick or SIRP is not permitted; also, SIRP cannot be supplemented with sick or vacation time. Benefits-eligible employees with a serious illness who are out for more than 12 weeks will be sent an application for MIT’s Long-Term Disability Plan.